I am from the mountains. My childhood traveled from the city to the countryside, from the
crowded streets to a garden full of birds, rain and trees and a little stream where I put my
feet in to feel the cold fresh water.

We traveled. I left the dolls behind and all the toys I had. There was war in my hometown.
We couldn’t stay. There were gunshots every night and mother was worried.

When we went to another city and we stayed in the house with the big garden, things changed.
I was afraid of airplanes because they were loud and they would bomb and probably we would
have to travel again.

I am from a war torn country, but it has beautiful mountains. The garden was big. We didn’t
have electricity, so mom burned wood to cook. It smelled good, although the smoke bothered
my eyes.

I was a bad child. I wouldn’t listen to mom, not like my sister, and mom shouted at
me. Father didn’t; he thought I was smart and he asked me to read poetry to him, loud.
I would read to his friends, too. They would be impressed and they clapped for me.

I didn’t like my grandmother. She didn’t tell us stories as much as other grandmothers
did, and she always blamed mom for not having sons.

Mother always worked. She was in the kitchen and she cooked and prepared and took care of
my father when he was sick. Grandmother always complained.

I would escape to garden sometimes. I sat by the pond and looked at the reflection of sun
in the pond. I would follow the direction of leaves with my eyes.

We immigrated to another country. We had to flee for a safer, better life. My English teacher
was tall and handsome. He liked me because he didn’t have a sister and because I always
did my homework and got good grades.

I am from the mountains; they are high, proud and silent. I am from the garden; it sings and
dresses in a thousand colors. I am from the northern part of my country; people are polite
and hospitable there. I am also from the capital; it is loud and crazy and exciting.

Mom wants us to be proud and reserved.

Father likes us strong and hopeful.